A New Understanding of Betzelem Elohim: Biblical Text Through the Lens of Disability Studies

Date: Aug 12, 2024

Time: 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Sponsor: Online Lecture Series

Location: Online

Category: JTS Alumni in the World

A New Understanding of Betzelem Elohim: Biblical Text Through the Lens of Disability Studies

Part of our summer learning series JTS Alumni in the World: Scholarship and Impact 

Monday, August 12
1:00–2:30 p.m. ET 

With Dr. Ora Horn Prouser (Kekst Graduate School ’91 and Seminary College ‘82), CEO and Academic Dean, Academy for Jewish Religion

One of the most important biblical principles is that we are created betzelem Elohim, in God’s image. While this idea has been used to assert value and dignity to each of us as individuals, it has also enabled us to expand our understanding of the Divine. Studying the Bible through the lens of Disability Studies has made this especially powerful. 

We will study some selections from the Bible seeing how viewing certain biblical personalities through this lens provides access to new dimensions of their characters and the texts in which we encounter them. We will then consider the character of God in the Bible and how God too can be more deeply appreciated through the perspective of Disability Studies. This approach challenges us to broaden our understanding of God and ourselves and will help us in the critical work of more fully appreciating the image of God in each and every one of us. 

This session is generously sponsored by Barbara Hoffman in loving memory of her daughter, Carolyn (Chaya) Hoffman.

The Zoom link for all sessions in the JTS Alumni in the World: Scholarship and Impact series will be in the confirmation email that you receive after you register. 

Dr. Ora Horn Prouser is the CEO and academic dean at the Academy for Jewish Religion, a pluralistic rabbinical, cantorial, and graduate school in Yonkers, New York. She received her BA and PhD from the Jewish Theological Seminary, as well as a BA from Columbia University. She has published widely on the Bible, focusing on disability studies, gender issues, and literary analysis. She has also worked with the Melton Center for Jewish Education, the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education at JTS, and various educational institutions to develop curricula and approaches to Bible pedagogy for all levels and learning styles. Her book Esau’s Blessing: How the Bible Embraces Those with Special Needs was recognized as a 2012 National Jewish Book Council finalist and as a Gold winner in the 2016 Special Needs Book Awards.  

About the Series

Our esteemed JTS alumni are making important contributions through their work as scholars and thought leaders in their fields. Join them this summer for nine outstanding learning sessions. Through their engagement with Jewish text, history, and thought, they are enhancing the spiritual and personal lives of individuals, building more inclusive communities, and preparing the leaders of tomorrow, ensuring a stronger Jewish future.